News Archive for December 2018

 Rail Operations Group head West

Published on 16th December 2018

Rail Operations Group (ROG) moved two barrier vehicles from their Leicester Depot to Laira on Sunday 16th December in preparation for another transfer of HST stock to Scotland.

The 5V84 10:00 Leicester - Laira move was hauled by No.47812 and No. 47815 'Lost Boys 68 - 88' in 'top and tail' formation. The train was routed via Severn Tunnel Junction where it reversed which required a locomotive positioned at either end of the train. In the pouring rain, No.47812 heads south at Banklands with Barriers 6340 and 6344 on tow.

To view the gallery, please click here.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)


 Christmas is coming


Published on 16th December 2018

From Monday 17th December, TauntonTrains has been set up to run automatically.

New images will be appearing on the front page each day until Boxing Day. None of the images will have previously been shown on Taunton Trains and are an ecliptic mix from the 1950s, and 1980s, along with a few festive favorites.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the website this year, your help, generosity and time is always appreciated.

Over the Christmas/ New Year period we are continuing to update the website, together with the ongoing task of adding information into our online workings database. After just over a year of work, the database stands at a staggering 36,000 entries, perfect for a bit of Christmas Day and Boxing Day browsing. We will bring you an update Email for future developments in the New Year.


Off Lease HSTs leave just 12 HST diagrams operating!


Published on 15th December 2018

The recent transfer of HST sets to the Scotrail franchise and the December timetable change has seen a dramatic increase in the use of Hitachi Class 800/ 802 sets in the South West.

Currently, there are only 12 full HST diagrams operating each day, with all other diagrams now mainly covered by the Class 800 and 802 fleets. On Saturday 15th December 2018 two more powercars transferred from GWR to Scotrail. No.43149 (in full Scotrail colours) and No.43151 worked back to back as the 0S01 10:00 Laira - Haymarket. The pair passed Taunton at 11:47 overtaking former stablemates No.43027 and No.43196 at Taunton Station.

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



GWR 'Castle' Set Training


Published on 9th December 2018

While GWR has been successfully operating their first reformed 2+4 HST 'Castle' set in Devon between Exeter and Penzance, Taunton has yet to see the introduction of these sets in our area, the reason behind GWR up until now have only received one converted sliding door set from Webtec Doncaster.

Set GW02 is now being used to train staff on the new procedures required to operate the shortened sliding door operated sets. During the first week of December two return training diagrams operated between Plymouth and Taunton using powercars No.43040 and No.43016 which have both been fitted with additional equipment for operating the new sliding doors on the Mk3 stock.


There have been four diagrams planned for each day (5Z60 07:25 Laira - Taunton, 5Z61 09:38 Taunton - Plymouth, 5Z62 12:15 Plymouth - Taunton, 5Z63 14:04 Taunton - Plymouth) however not all of these diagrams have been fully operated and are subject to change on each day of training.

(Photo: Simon Harling)

(Photo: Jeff Treece)



Engineers return from Devon

(Photo: Phil Izzard)

Published on 9th December 2018

Sunday 9th December 2018 provided several engineers trains returning from an overnight engineering blockade in Devon.

One of the first services to pass through Taunton in a lucky break between the local heavy downpours from DB liveried Class 66 No.66134. In a very lucky set of circumstances (which could have ended very differently) DB Cargo Class 66 No.66134 hauls 6W30 08:30 Ivybridge - Westbury engineers through Norton Fitzwarren posed perfectly with a pair of Hitachi Class 802s operating a southbound GWR passenger service No.802015 & No.802018 head away from the camera operating 1C05 08:00 London Paddington - Penzance.

To view the gallery, please click here.


February 2019 Line Closure to complete Whiteball Tunnel Arches


Published on 9th December 2018

Whiteball Tunnel was built between 1842 and 1844 and is 1000meters in length.

February 2019 will see the final line closure for an engineering blockade to complete Whiteball Tunnel along with a partial closure of a single bore at Marley Tunnel (near Plymouth), which will occur at the same time.

Work to repair Whiteball tunnel started as part of a three-phase operation in 2012 when a Ram-Arch wire mesh system was installed into the tunnel lining, in preparation for a sprayed concrete lining to be applied. Two years later in 2014, the second phase of the works sprayed mass concrete onto the tunnel crown. These two phases were carried out by Amco (who were then ideally placed to rush to the Dawlish Sea Wall collapse with their concrete equipment to prevent further damage catastrophic sea wall collapse). Four years on Network Rail have appointed J Murph's & Son Ltd to complete the final phase of work at the Whiteball Tunnel site. The works are due to take place between Monday 18th February and Friday 8th March 2019. Included within the engineering work are the completion of the concrete spraying RAM -Arch inside the tunnel (approx 345 linear meters in total), installation of further drainage channels and removal of two redundant line side buildings located at the Taunton end of Whiteball Tunnel.

During the 2019 engineering works, Road Replacement Transport will be supplied from Taunton. A limited amount of long distance services from London Paddington - Penzance will be diverted via Yeovil and Honiton to Exeter. All other GWR and Cross Country services from London and the North will terminate at Taunton. The locomotive hauled Night Riviera services will also operate via Yeovil.

A selection of road transport will operate fast services between Taunton and Exeter, and other services will operate to Tiverton Parkway.

Photos from the Phase 2 works at Whiteball Tunnel in 2014 can also be viewed here: Whiteball Tunnel

(Photo: Brian Garrett)

(Photo: Brian Garrett)



 Engineers return from Cornwall

Published on 3rd December 2018

Sunday 2nd December 2018 saw several engineers trains returning through Taunton from Cornwall to Wiltshire.

DB Cargo Red liveried Class 66 No.66083 catches a brief glimpse of sunlight on a dull Autumn morning. The 6W30 08:30 Ivybridge - Westbury is pictured passing Norton Fitzwarren returning with empty JNA Falcon wagons having been unloaded at the track renewal site in Cornwall.

(Photo: Adam Snow)


Steam Hauled to Plymouth Christmas Market

(Photo: S A Ginn)

Published on 1st December 2018

British Rail Green liveried Ex-LNER A4 No. 60009 'Union of South Africa' made its last appearance on South West metals before withdrawal from the mainline.

The locomotive passed through Taunton on Saturday 1st December 2018 with The Railway Touring Company Charter 'The Plymouth Christmas Market', operating as the 1Z09 08:16 Bristol Temple Meads - Plymouth. Union of South Africa operated the train in both directions and climbed the Devon banks in both directions unassisted, although the train was shadowed by West Coast Railways No.47832 in each direction. The train is pictured departing Taunton at 40 Steps.


To view news stories from November 2018, click here, or for news from January 2019, click here.